5 pitfalls of hybrid working and how to avoid them

85% of the UK workforce has expressed the desire for hybrid working and business are rapidly adjusting their practices to accommodate this desire. However, exactly how this shift to a hybrid working model will be achieved and what its challenges going forward will be is less clear.

In this article we will discuss what hybrid working is and how it will affect those of us working in regulated markets. We’ll also look at five of the most common challenges of hybrid working and their potential solutions so that you can make the most of your businesses shift to hybrid working.

What is hybrid working?

Hybrid working is a form of flexible working where an employee splits their time between the office and remote working from their preferred location such as their own home or a co-working space. Think of it as a step between office-based work and fully remote work.

The exact split each employee works is down to the employer. Depending on the role you may choose to have your employee’s come into the office once a week or more regularly.

Challenges of hybrid working for the regulated markets sector.

Hybrid working can pose a challenge for those in the financial and insurance sectors as well as other industries that work within a regulated market. Ensuring businesses can meet their security and regulatory responsibilities can require extra oversight and a capable IT function so as not to compromise their ability to follow regulatory standards.

5 pitfalls to avoid and hybrid working best practices to adopt

1. Increased costs
Adopting a hybrid working model means that you’ll still require some form of office space even though it may be empty or underutilised a few days a week. You may also consider the changes to your benefit and labour costs. For example, you may no longer need to offer travel reimbursements, but should hybrid workers be compensated for using their own internet connections?

Solution: Co-working office spaces or sharing an office with another company, or splitting your office spaces into smaller, more local units. When it comes to benefits, offer employees a choice and ensure they know about changes in advance.

2. Striking a management balance
Making sure your hybrid working model strikes the right balance between oversight and autonomy can be challenging. There can often be a level of unconscious bias from managers with in-office employees being seen as inherently more reliable and productive. Employers need to make sure managers can provide adequate feedback whilst allowing employees to feel trusted to do their jobs.

Solution: Well-thought-out and established channels of communication, a clearly set-out feedback and evaluation process and a culture of trust will all be critical in ensuring success. Technology can be helpful here with plenty of new communication tools, work management software and employee performance platforms available.

3. Lack of connectivity and communication
Difficulties in communication and connectivity can cause headaches when implementing a hybrid working model. The most obvious issues are technological – are the video conferencing tools and hardware you are using up to the job of facilitating meetings where employees are dialling in remotely? Technology can also affect communication more subtly. Some employees are inherently more comfortable speaking over a screen than others.
These communication difficulties can impact collaboration. It can require extra effort for employees in the office to connect with those who are remote meaning that colleagues can be left out of the loop when it comes to critical decisions. Professional networks, mentoring schemes and personal connections can all be weakened.

Solution: Once again, technological investment may be required to make sure everyone can connect and communicate individually and in meetings. Processes and procedures to ensure all formal communication and outcomes are shared with employees outside of the office and employees should be encouraged to communicate as much as possible with one another to prevent divides forming. Away days and in-person meetups outside of regular working hours should be encouraged to help relationships form.

4. Weakened security procedures
Employees will need to access company servers, confidential data, and documents outside of the usual security firewalls which can expose vulnerabilities, particularly if employees are using their own devices. This can be risky and open businesses to security issues and can also have an impact on their ability to carry out important control functions such as risk, compliance, and audit.

Solution: Companies must ensure their IT systems and functionalities are robust. This may require a scaling up of IT departments with a focus on cybersecurity. Employees should be provided with the right technology such as VPNs, secure clouds, and personal devices. Education is also critical. Employees should feel comfortable accessing IT support and expressing concerns.

5. Diluted office culture
When employees are working in a hybrid model there is a danger that workplace culture can become diluted. Hybrid workers are more likely to feel disillusioned and disengaged from the company’s overall mission and values. It can be particularly difficult for new employees to integrate as they do not have the advantage of building a connection with your culture through working in the office full time. If employees no longer come into the office regularly, how can you maintain your distinctive culture?

Solution: The meaning and balance of work has changed for many people through the transition into hybrid working. This is a perfect time for companies to evaluate their culture and determine which aspects of their culture they which to keep and which can be discarded.

Davies can help you build teams to manage the transition to hybrid working

Hybrid working is the future and to meet its challenges in regulated markets will require talented employees across several disciplines. At Davies Resourcing our industry experts can advise you on building diverse, creative, and adaptable teams that can meet the future head-on.

Contact us to speak to one of our specialist consultants today.

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Mandy Dhillon

HR Business Partner

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